Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 9, 20429-20469, 2009
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/9/20429/2009/
doi:10.5194/acpd-9-20429-2009
© Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Review Status
This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Three-dimensional numerical simulations of the evolution of a contrail and its transition into a contrail-cirrus
R. Paugam1,*, R. Paoli1, and D. Cariolle1,2
1European Centre for Research and Advanced Training in Scientific Computation, URA CNRS/CERFACS no 1875, Toulouse, France
2Météo France, Toulouse, France
*now at: Department of Geography, King's College London, London, UK

Abstract. This study describes high-resolution numerical simulations of the evolution of an aircraft contrail and its transition into a contrail-cirrus. The contrail is modeled as a vortex pair descending in a stratified atmosphere where turbulent fluctuations are sustained in the late regime of diffusion. The focus of this study is laid on the three-dimensional vortex dynamics – including vortex instability and turbulence – and on the interaction between dynamics and microphysics and its role in determining the growth and the distribution of ice crystals. The results show the feasibility of three-dimensional simulations of the entire lifetime of a contrail until its transformation into a contrail-cirrus in supersaturated conditions. In particular, it is shown that the contrail-cirrus optical depth is maintained as the cloud expands, in agreement with available observations.

Citation: Paugam, R., Paoli, R., and Cariolle, D.: Three-dimensional numerical simulations of the evolution of a contrail and its transition into a contrail-cirrus, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 9, 20429-20469, doi:10.5194/acpd-9-20429-2009, 2009.
 
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